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Indio Downey- Cigarettes in Bed EP

LA alt-rock riser Indio Downey has just released his superb solo EP Cigarettes in Bed. A journey from darkness into light, each track is rich with sonic depth and the best elements of grunge and slacker rock. It feels like an instant classic, fuelled with pounding percussion and soaring multitextured harmonies as Downey’s rich resonant vocals slant over fierce buoyant riffs. The breathless EP is imbued with a timeless, slow burn fervour, fusing the grit, angst and joy of punk with simmering moments of self-reflection. Indio told GIITTV that his proudest musical moment was, “The completion of Cigarettes in Bed EP. Finding the right way to convey my experiences with love, addiction, and recovery is an internal battle that I’ve been fighting for years. I’m excited for people to hear it and hope that they are able to take something away from it,“ and we certainly do.

James Joyce said, “in the particular is contained the universal” and it’s the particular details and honesty of Indio’s struggles in this EP that give his tracks a it a universal appeal. There’s something very humbling about hearing him open up about the challenges that he has faced, fearlessly through pushing through the darkness with warm shards of light making it ultimately an EP of hope transformation and redemption. There is a purity and emotional honesty to this EP that almost eschews the glitz and shine of Hollywood and focuses on authenticity and a challenging internal journey of redemption- one that all of us, as humans, can relate to; an honesty that is bound to win him fans. Indio told GIITTV “ I feel like the songs tell the story of my journey. The EP spans from seeking comfort in a drug to finding happiness through acceptance of reality which has been a huge part of my transformation.

Both lyrically and sonically authentic, none of the tracks are over produced so it maintains that garage band grit- an authenticity and emotional rawness that personified the heart of 90s grunge. As Indio told GIITTV, “The EP spans from seeking comfort in a drug to finding happiness through acceptance of reality which has been a huge part of my transformation…..The narrative of the EP is essentially overcoming suffering in different ways, whether it be through drugs, sobriety, love, sex, or acceptance.”

One of the bravest and most poetic tracks to illustrate his journey is ‘September.’ Now nineteen months sober, ‘September‘ offers an honest, no holds barred reflection of his struggles as he sings ” I boldly go nowhere at all/Hanging upside down/ My Compass Points straight at the ground/ I feel like I’m failing…..I’m battered yet better, and here comes September.” This beautifully honest circular grunge track, follows in the emotionally honest traditions of some of our lifelong favourite tracks including Beck‘s ‘Loser,’ Nirvana‘s ‘Dumb‘ of The Offspring‘s ‘Self Esteem‘ and, yet “battered yet better,” he comes out the other side with hope and light. Singing along to emotionally vulnerable songs like this, as a fan, almost exorcises those inner demons and makes you feel a sense of connection with others who’ve have had dark patches in their lives. Songs like this extend a hand of kinship, understanding and comfort to to people going though similar issues and could be seen as doing a service to humanity in a landscape of fake Instagrammable perfection. Moody basslines cradle his raw vocals against the crash of relentless percussion. Co-written with father Robert Downey Jr who faced similar struggles- there is a real sense of camaraderie and hope here. The track’s stark honesty suits Indio, who finds a compelling sense of self-confidence as he reclaims his own destiny.

 The title track ‘Cigarettes in Bed ‘ finds Indio at his most open and earnest in a love song based on a previous relationship and written in Hawaii. Indio told us, ‘Cigarettes in Bed’ is a glimpse into a previous relationship in which their company helped me cope with my sadness which is why I felt it fit as the titleWhen I felt overwhelmed by the weight of the world their company always gave me peace of mind. The visual of smoking cigarettes in bed is a glimpse into a time when being together helped us cope with our loneliness.” Looking at the video you can almost see Kurt Cobain. Juxtaposing dark grungy riffs with upbeat hooks and a dreamy chorus he poetically sings ” I’m underneath the anti-social waterfall but I don’t want to be alone…I could lay here forever.” He celebrates their effortless connection as he sings. “When you’re next to me / The weight of the world doesn’t feel so heavy,” There’s a purity and introspective joy to this a banger- one that you can imagine fans echoing back with fervour at live performances.

Plastic Rainbow’ is one of those tracks that sounds like an instant classic. Indio said, “Plastic Rainbow is a love song about a previous addiction. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that spans from fond memories to sadness and rage.” Fuelled with visceral percussion and soaring multi textured harmonies, Downey’s rich resonant vocals slant over pentatonic riffs  ‘Plastic Rainbow‘ is a sonic tidal wave of churning grit, effortlessly pairing audacious guitar hooks with soaring triumphant choruses to create narrative shades of light and dark ending with a cathartic emotive Nirvana- like scream. Indio told GIITTV ” In ‘Plastic Rainbow’ the lines in the bridge “ decorated pages” is about the nostalgia of being in a hotel room doodling and wiring music all night. The line “solemn autumn stages” is about the sadness of playing shows in small venues for five people.“ With an addictive hook of a chorus this is bound to be another live fan favourite.

One of the most cinematic, emotive and darkly enticing tracks on the album, ‘Dume ripples with a pounding bass line and keening guitars as he sings, ”I can’t overcome this bitter-sweet affliction.” With a breathless, radio-ready, chorus, there seems to be a whirlpool of fatal attraction at its centre- emphasised by the circular riffs spiralling under Indio’s vocals as they drift over the track’s sonic soul –and yet there is allure in the shadows. Churning with tension, the intense heartbeat builds beneath the drumsticks as the chorus soars with frisson. Clarity reigns in the song’s conclusion with the triumphant desire to break free from addiction as he sings: “The more I give / the more you take / the more what was once was real turns fake.‘ Indio said.“‘Dume’ is about past addiction. Doom is my biggest fear but within the context of the song it’s a metaphor for the fatal attraction to self-destruction. I also switched the spelling so that its a play on Point Dume in Malibu which is my inspiration spot. I Hope people who hear this song remember that there is beauty in the darkness.”  He expanded on this when speaking to GIITV saying, “The protest of punk rock and the angst of grunge is very dark. Part of the struggle of being an artist is to capture it. When someone is able to experience suffering and use it to fuel a song that people can relate to, it’s very beautiful.“ There is something about all aspects of the human condition being expressed and empathized through music that is very healing and beautiful.

Final track ‘The Other Side‘ is a triumph- a grainy technicolour tidal wave of manic slanted alt-rock energy rich with sleezy 2000s reverb it dives head first into a chaotic and intoxicating relationship. “Talk to me / my favourite liar / my sugar coated killer / want to play with fire / rock bottom girl can you get me higher,” sings Indio in the opening verse. With its harmonic chants you can totally imagine this being sung by hundreds live. There’s flavours of The Dandy Warhols in this anthemic hit. Built around a pounding bassline, thrashing guitars and an buoyant chorus. It’s a triumphant ending to a journey into the dark recesses of the psyche and hopefully out the other side into a better place of light transformation and harmony.

By the end of the EP you feel like you’ve been on an authentic journey through the highs and lows of the human condition whilst being wrapped up in the timeless anthemic joy of the sonics. It would be easy to create something shiny, but this EP is more gritty, honest, warm, real and subversive- in the true spirit of grunge. A look inside the lyrics will reveal poetic shards of deep sincerity as well as bona fide bangers. In Cigarettes in Bed, Indio steps out of the shadows and into the spotlight and comes into his own as a solo artist. As he said, “Music is a vessel for healing growth and transformation.”

See our full interview with Indio Downey here

Indio Downey (

 Photo Credit: Elizabeth Miranda




God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.